Surfing with Ivan from Backburn International
i-genius: Why did you create Backburn?
Ivan: Backburn is an outcome of my passion, aspiration and ambition – my passion to surf and be a beach bum, my aspirations to become a source of opportunity to those who lack hope, and ambition to be a successful social entrepreneur.
i-genius: Did you expect to be a winner of the British Council business plan competition?
Ivan: I didn’t. We joined to seek criticism to our business concept. I wanted to know what is missing in our concept and the low points that require twitching.
i-genius: Tell us about your launch in March?
Ivan: We were supposed to have a grand launch with fashion show and press conference. However, with our limited resources, splurging our limited finances to a fashion show might not be the best decision. So we decided instead to focus our funds on something that will last – an official website.
i-genius: What is your long term ambition for Backburn? Ivan: We want Backburn to be one of the top international brands in the industry. We want to have presence in all the major surf spots in the world. With our current very conservative sales quota, we will be able to help 30 families. Imagine if Backburn becomes a global brand. No one knows we might be one of the solutions to end poverty in hundreds of communities in Philippines.
i-genius: What is the biggest challenge you face at the moment?
Ivan: Scarce Resources. Backburn is a very ambitious brand that requires ample amount of resources (both human and financial resources). We are now very careful in selecting the right designs to produce. One wrong decision will automatically translate to losses. We need to set-up a safety net that will allow the group to decide more freely and explore more on our creativity. That is why we are selling 20% shares of Backburn to interested investors. In terms of scarcity of human resource, we don’t actually have problems on the production side. There are a lot of sewers in the community we chose. Our difficulty is doing all the leg work while doing the paper work because we cannot hire assistant or secretary. We don’t have extra funds to hire people to do some task. I even have to personally do the carpentry to decorate our office space.
i-genius: Okay, level with us. Surfers are crazy people, right?
Ivan: Well, after watching “Riding the Giants” I’ll have to say yes. But seriously speaking, I think people living the urban lifestyle are crazier. Who do you think is crazier – a guy who goes clubbing, getting drunk, dancing like crazy just to impress girls or a surfer who waits for waves and doesn’t care who watches? A young professional who work their ass off to pay rent for their expensive condo unit, buy all the branded clothes and skincare products, and drive a fancy car or a surfer who simply earns to buy a pair of board shorts, rash guard, sunblock and surfboard?
i-genius: Thank you